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Interview: Hideyoshi Shigeta, General Manager of VOLKS USA

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Joined: 22 Sep 2009
Posts: 138
Location: Nova Scotia, Canada
PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 6:30 am Reply with quote
and now the company is moving in to licensed characters

Now? They've been doing licensed characters since at least 2004. I can't imagine the SD line has many anime characters besides Rozen Maiden, but DD has always had lots of anime and eroge characters.

Anyway, the price is too way too high for my tastes, and contrary to the article, I would feel like the detail would be less of that on a figure, regardless of scale. Also, a figure allows for a face, and especially eyes that can be very accurate to the original art, where this level of 3D does not. Or with hair, a figure's hair can be well-shaded, or convey nice motion, but neither of those things apply to a wig, which only has the potential to get messy.
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Joined: 16 Sep 2016
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 8:38 pm Reply with quote
i ordered my Nier: Automata 2b and 9S. I'm so excited for them or arrive first time getting DD.
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PostPosted: Wed Nov 21, 2018 9:39 pm Reply with quote
I’ll admit that many years ago, I thought that any types of these dolls were creepy too. And no matter how much I enjoyed anime/manga, that there’s no way that I’d collect anything like them. But as the years went by, I began to enjoy seeing what others were doing with them and realizing what they were all about. And as I began to meet these people from all walks of life, i knew it was something I could enjoy too.

Now here I am years later with two Dollfie Dream dolls, and for the life of me, I ask myself why I didn’t get into this hobby before then. Sure the cost can be expensive, but after a while, you begin to realize that it’s all worth it. And the community of friends and collectors I’ve met over the years has made it all worthwhile. Smile
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Joined: 08 May 2014
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Location: In Phoenix but has an 85308 ZIP
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 2:00 am Reply with quote
marshmallowpie wrote:
and now the company is moving in to licensed characters

Gee, how did they avoid copyright and trademark lawsuits all these years?
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bakayaro onna

Joined: 22 Nov 2018
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Thu Nov 22, 2018 7:29 am Reply with quote
The article's writer assumes all dolls seen at anime conventions are made by Volks, but that is not the case.

Volks dolls are the Mercedes of the resin doll makers. Volks makes a lot of limited dolls that are offered by lottery only, making it difficult for many people to win the chance to buy one of the few dolls produced. Yes, I have won one of those chances before. I only have one new Volks doll. The rest were pre-owned, also known as 'adopted'.

Because of Volks' business practices, companies in South Korea and China have designed beautiful resin dolls without the giant price tags Volks puts on their resin dolls. Those are usually the resin dolls you see at cons. Yes, a Volks resin doll may attend, but usually what you see are many different companies riding on their proud owners' shoulders or gently held in their arms.

Since Volks' US general manager was at this particular con in the article, then yes, the dolls walking around were probably Volks dolls in honour of him. Volks does not allow other doll company dolls into their stores so walking around with a non-Volks doll and attending Volks panels with that doll would not be respectful to the guest or the company.

Volks has a serious Japanese competitor in the vinyl doll world - Danny Choo's Smart Doll. Smart Dolls come in three skin-tones including a beautiful dark cocoa. Volks usually sticks to pale vinyl, with an occasional slightly darker 'normal' skin-tone. Vinyl dolls STAIN and Volks stain worse than Smart Doll. Smart Doll pre-washes their fabrics for their doll clothes and Volks does not. Volks does line some of their clothing but staining is a lot worse with Volks vinyl.

Volks recently released their holiday dolls and many were re-issues. The one I wanted, Kirito, was sold out before I even saw the sale. Volks needs to move to produce some basic MALE vinyl dolls in both Dollfie Dream sizes for those who are not into giant boobed vinyl girls. Many people only collect male dolls in the US and that is what we want to purchase when we want to buy a Volks Dollfie Dream. So far, every boy doll is a full set and is either sold out almost immediately or the face is so unremarkable no one wants to spend that much money on a full-set doll, only to have the expensive faceup wiped and hiring a faceup artist to paint something better on the head.

Designers from the US, Germany, and other Western countries are now sculpting ball-jointed dolls for sale - each small company has their own unique look. Some are more Western, some go with the Asian style and still others go with something completely new and different from the typical styles, like animals, fey, and monsters.

Doll A-Kon at A-Kon in Ft. Worth, TX is a ball-jointed doll con within A-Kon where you will see many dolls made from vinyl, resin and 3-D printed materials. BJDC in Austin, TX has both US and International doll creators and people selling parts of their doll collections and clothing.

If you come to Doll A-Kon you could interview the artist of Ring Doll, who not only sculpts every single doll but also designs the fabrics for his doll clothing designs, and sculpts all the doll accessories.

You could also interview 3-D printed doll artists, doll artists who make their dolls' eyes and many other artisans and collectors who will be more than happy to talk to you about their art, craft and hobby.

Ball-jointed doll collectors are always happy to talk to an interested person about their dolls!
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PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 3:58 am Reply with quote
@bakayarou onna: I admittedly have not been to a convention for a while but in my experience at an anime convention most of the dolls are ‘anime’ dolls, which are typically Dollfie Dreams, although you are right that recently Smartdoll is getting big so those may be around too. However, smartdoll are for the most part even more expensive than Volks despite being (personal opinion) less well made. I like that there are more skin options - (Volks does have a darker skin option as well which is just a little lighter than the smartdoll tan colour, however it is limited to the flagship Akihabara store for now) but to be honest I really dislike the way Smartdolls look - and the rude way Danny Choo conducts himself on social media - often trying to get his fans to dislike Volks and ‘pick a side’, has turned me off his products completely. (I did own a smartdoll once apon a time but sold it as I found it inferior to DollfieDreams)

That said, I also used to scoff at the idea of paying triple digit dollars for a doll (or more) until I decided to buy ‘just one’ Dollfie Dream. Of course, that turned into 6, and now they’re a hobby for me. What was said about the high level of detail is correct. I used to be a fan of anime figures - however now I find them ‘boring’ in comparison and have stopped collecting those. (I still follow figure blogs though because I love looking at photos, I’m just content to not own any anymore). In my opinion the quality of the dolls is well worth the price, and I realised I only thought they were overpriced because I was looking at them from a figure point of view. But they aren’t figures - they have very complex moving parts and an internal skeleton which on its own comes with a price, then there’s the eyes, wig, outfit etc - so when I do a mental price breakdown I can understand it a lot better (for most dolls, anyway...)
Needless to say I preordered 9S. It’ll be a hard wait for him, but the good thing about the annual preorder project Volks does (which the Nier dolls are for 2018) is that after a deposit you don’t pay anything until the doll is ready to ship- which means a year to save. Just in case that helps anyone on the fence about them. I will put a little aside each month.
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bakayaro onna

Joined: 22 Nov 2018
Posts: 2
PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2018 8:38 pm Reply with quote
@championferret, my whole point is that most anime cons have a variety of dolls and some (but not all) can look like anime characters and be made of resin, like some of the newer Luts dolls.

The article's writer incorrectly assumes all cons across the country are filled with Volks dolls, which is definitely not the case. That was the whole point of my long-winded comment.

I usually carry Parabox MSD-sized vinyl because of the light weight does not hurt my multiple chronic autoimmune diseases. I can also easily take them apart and store them in my bag when I get tired of carrying one in my arms.

Parabox creates both anime and realistic head sculpts so a person can really customize their vinyl doll. They have the same kind of internal skeleton as Volks and Smart Doll. The large Parabox doll bodies are sometimes hybrided with Volks Dollfie Dream heads to cut costs. A friend of mine did that with me when I ordered a Parabox full-set and already had a full bust body for the head. We did a group order and she paid for just the body and the eyes.

My girl is very anime in style, with Volks animetic eyes. My boy is realistic with realistic eyes and represents an anime character, Natsume from Natsume's Book of Friends.

In the end, we are lucky we have so many doll choices to pick from, from materials, sculpts, faceups and clothing.
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